Blind Salvage(Rylee Adamson #5)(14) by Shannon Mayer
“No.” I shook my head. “You don’t want to know what it is. Just lock it up.”
Without any more questions, Dox disappeared down the hall, holding the covered book just with his fingertips. I knew he had a safe, I just didn’t know where it was. Which was fine by me. I didn’t have time to read that thing yet, but my gut feeling was that I would need it, and soon. I left him there and headed back to the room. Dox seemed torn up by the fact that we were headed into ogre territory. I probably should have been more worried, but I wasn’t.
Back in our room, I leaned over the bag again, I handed Liam two short blades, each one about twelve inches long, bright pristine steel with smooth caramel-colored wooden handles. “You can set these up with a slight adjustment on your shoulder holster. They fit nice under a jacket and can be used in close quarters, and in a pinch, they can be thrown.”
He took the bright blades from me, rolled the handles between his fingers. “These are a start.”
I helped adjust a shoulder holster for him, fitting it with the sheaths that would keep the blades from cutting into him.
“Are they spelled like yours?”
“Yes. All my blades are spelled, so watch your fingers.”
He slid a jacket over the swords and holster, and he looked about as normal as any person out for a walk in the blistering cold could look.
I flopped onto the bed and threw my arm over my eyes. Half an hour and the rental truck would be here.
“What do you know about ogres, besides Dox?” Liam sat down beside me, the bed sagging under his weight.
“Volatile, territorial, prone to fighting and f**king. Sometimes both at the same time. Other than that, I don’t know. They keep their customs and tribes very close to the chest.” I flipped my arm off my face. “Hell, I hadn’t even known there were that many colors until those damn books of Jack’s.”
“Bigger than Dox?” Liam fingered the blades he’d just strapped on.
“Yeah, I think he’s pretty small for an ogre.”
He sat up with a swiftness my eyes struggled to follow. “Seven feet is small?”
“For an ogre, yes.”
I Tracked Calliope. The tingling of her emotions spoke of her fear, but she wasn’t hurt. A good start. My mind flickered over the possibilities of what kind of creature could have snagged her. Something from the air, something with talons. Dragons and Harpies were the two obvious choices. A dragon was unlikely; they resided in Europe and Asia for the most part, rarely coming across the water to North America. At least from what I understood.
A Harpy, taking Eve out of the equation, was a good possibility, as there was a running animosity between Harpies and unicorns. But they—Harpies—were territorial too, and I doubted they would go so far out of their own area, even to snatch a foal belonging to their rivals.
“What is going on in that head of yours?” Liam brushed his fingers across my forehead.
I caught his fingers in mine. “Why would anyone want a unicorn foal?”
His jaw flexed and his pale golden eyes grew thoughtful. “They haven’t contacted the crush for ransom, so it isn’t a power trip.”
“Breeding rights, maybe?” She was surely a pretty enough little thing. I leaned across the bed and picked up the pale yellow rotary phone, dialing a number without thinking.
The phone rang four times before a groggy voice came on the line. “You know what time it is here? I need my beauty sleep. I just got back from Europe.”
“Kyle, get your ass out of bed and on the computer.”
There was a resounding thump and it sounded like the phone was dropped, then the shuffle of blankets before he came back on. “Shit, Rylee. Sorry, I’m going, just give me half a second.”
“Tell him to put some clothes on,” Liam said.
I put a hand over the receiver. “How do you know he’s na**d?”
“I can’t hear the rustle of clothes.”
Shit, I didn’t realize Liam’s hearing was that good. “Kyle, throw some shorts on.”
Another rustle and then the sound of bare feet slapping on cheap linoleum floors.
“How did you know I was home?”
I snorted. “Agent Valley told me he sent you home after you nearly crapped your pants when the Beast made his appearance at the police station.”
He cleared his throat and Liam leaned forward. Static, loud and crunchy, filled my ears. I pushed him back. “Too close.” I mouthed at him. Technology and supernaturals never did go hand-in-hand, but with Liam it seemed even worse. Like the combination of werewolf and Guardian made him extra difficult around technology.
“Kyle, have you got all the Arcane Arts files?” I was banking on this actually.
“Um. Yeah. But I’m not supposed—”
“See what we’ve got on unicorns in the Pacific Northwest.” My gut twisted just saying the words. Never in all my years knowing what the supernatural was had I shared so easily with a mere human. Not even with Liam.
The click of fingers on a keyboard. “No, nothing in the Pacific Northwest. Wow, but would you look at—”
“No, don’t look at anything else or you’ll be nothing more than a smear of shit on the wall if Valley catches you.”
“Wait, I thought you were working with him?” Kyle’s voice rose in pitch until it was a mere squeak.
“No, I’m not. But your ass belongs to me, not him.”
His swallow was audible. “Right. Anything else?”
“Can you look up sub-species? Like, if I ask for anything with wings?”
Liam nodded in approval, and then stood and went to the door, opening it. As Kyle searched for me, I turned to see Dox standing in the doorway, a glower on his face, the silver piercings in his lip, eyebrow, and ears standing out even more in the morning light.
Two things happened at once. With a grumble Dox, tossed me his truck keys. “I can’t damn well let you go on your own. But you have to listen to me, when we get there. You have to trust me when it comes to my own kind.”
I gave him a sharp nod and Kyle spoke softly in my ear.
“Rylee, you aren’t going to believe this.”
Contrary to what Kyle thought, I knew that I would believe it. And knowing how the world was when it came to me and mine, whatever ‘it’ was wouldn’t be good.
I was right; it wasn’t good, not by a long f**king shot.
I HUNG UP THE phone, plans already whirling through my mind. As difficult as it might be, there were going to be no surprises this time around. Just a simple, straightforward salvage. Before I could tell Dox and Liam what Kyle had shared, the phone rang. I scooped it up, thinking the kid had forgotten something.
“What did you forget?”
A low chuckle whispered through the line and I recognized Doran’s charming tones. “Rylee, I need you to swing by my place before you leave on this blind salvage of yours.”
“Doran? What are you talking about? The salvage is on this side of the veil, I don’t need extra help.”
He laughed again, any reluctance he’d shown earlier in the bar completely gone, and more than a hint of his old confidence rolling through the phone line. “Rylee, you need to come see me, because I just found out something rather interesting about you, something you are going to want to know.”
“Yeah, like what?”
The bastard hung up on me. Damn him, he knew me too well for my liking. I hung up the phone and turned to see Dox and Liam waiting on me. Liam spoke first.
“You think he’s bluffing?”
I shook my head. “No, I don’t. We’ll go to him, but we’ll make it quick.”
Dox let me drive, since I was the one Tracking and could make adjustments as we went. That, and he didn’t look to be doing all that well. Much as he’d agreed to come with us, to act as a guide and help, I was pretty sure he’d rather be anywhere else. I glanced over at him, took in the pale tones of his blue skin, not the bright vibrant blue that I was used to at all. Yeah, something was going on with him for sure and I couldn’t help but think about what Doran had said. That Dox had been kicked out for being weak. If that was the case, Dox might be more of a liability than an asset.
Dox stared out the window and scrubbed a hand over his head. “What took the foal, do you know?”
“Kyle said that the only thing with wings big enough to carry the foal, and actually identified as using the Pacific Northwest would be a Roc.” I took the turn onto Shawnee Rd.
The ogre sucked in a sharp breath and turned his face to me, eyes wide with alarm. “Seriously? Please tell me you’re joking.”
I shook my head. Nope, I was not joking, though I wished I was.
Liam lounged in the back seat, as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Of course, he still didn’t have the full understanding of the supernatural to scare the shit out of him. He leaned forward, placing a hand on each of our seats.
“So what is a rock?”
Dox beat me to it. “Spelled R-O-C. Giant bird—”
“Like a Harpy?”
“No, bigger.” I slid my hands over the heated steering wheel, pleased that the truck had started with the three of us in here. Though it had been questionable, the engine managed to turn over. I hadn’t been looking forward to getting into ogre country on my own, or even with just Dox at my side. No way was I leaving Liam behind. Not this time. Not with a Roc and ogre country coming up.
I took a breath, but let Dox tell him. The ogre needed something to do other than fret about his people, who we would invariably run into.
“Dragon size, but without any real intelligence, which makes them easy targets for those who want to control them.” Dox leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. “They don’t resemble a bird other than the fact that they have wings, which is what a lot of the old legends show them as. They’re more like one of those flying dinosaurs the humans dig up.”
Liam’s eyes slid to half-mast. “Pterodactyls. Giant leathery wings?”